SBA Loans and the New Small Business Bill

Near the end of September 2010, President Barack Obama signed a Small Business Bill into effect. The new bill set aside $30 billion for small business lending. The law also includes $12 billion in tax breaks for small companies. This bill was signed into effect as a response to the 9.6 unemployment dissent in America. President Obama and the administration signed the bill to demonstrate an effort to decrease the unemployment levels in the United States. President Obama hopes that the loan will create as many as 500,000 new jobs within the next couple of years.

Small Business Jobs Act 2010 Changes

The Small Business Jobs Act includes the Recovery Act Loans Extension that provides $14 billion in lending support. Small Business Administration (SBA) Recovery loans will be extended under the law with a 90% guarantee and reduced fees. At the time that the bill was signed, 1,400 small businesses were waiting for funding. Since the signing of the Recovery Act, 70,000 Recovery loans have been supported. Over $680 million dollars have created $30 billion in lending support.

The bill supports higher loan limits, and the maximum loan sizes increased in the pre-established loan programs. The new bill also increases the 7(a) and 504 loan limits from $2 million to $5 million. Manufacturers may receive up to $5.5 million. The 7(a) loan program is one of the most flexible loan programs offered for start ups and existing small businesses. Most of these loans are gained through commercial lending institutions. The 7(a) loan program includes an Export Loan program and a Rural Lender Advantage program. Some businesses will be able to refinance and incorporate their commercial real estate mortgages into the 504 loan program. However, this only applies to owner occupied units.

Microloan limits increased from $35,000 to $50,000. These loans are designed to help entrepreneurs with large start-up companies and small businesses owners in underserved communities. The new bill also increases small business eligibility for SBA loans. They make this possible by increasing the “alternate size standard” to small businesses with less than $15 million in net worth. This also applies to those businesses with less than $5 million in average net income. The law also increases the amount of Small Business Administration (SBA) Express loans from $350,000 to $1 million. Working Capital and Commercial Real Estate Refinancing received temporary enhancements to assist small business owners.

Tax Cuts

The tax cuts include the following:

– More Deductions for Start Ups
– Deductions for Cell Phones provided by the Employer
– Self Employed Health Insurance Deductions
– Penalty limitations for small business tax reporting errors
– Accelerated or Bonus Depreciation
– Provisions for up to Five Years of Net Operating Losses
– Up to $500,000 for Small Business Expenses: The Highest Expense Ever

Fees Associated with the SBA Loans

Fees are assessed to offset the costs of the SBA loan to the taxpayer. Lenders are charged a guaranty fee and servicing fee for each approved loan loan. The fees are a percentage of the amount loaned to the borrower. The lender may charge the guaranty fee upfront. However, the borrower is not responsible for the lender’s annual fee.

ARC Loans

ARC Loans are small business loans that do not carry any associated fees. In the past, the fees for loans were between 1% and 3.5% of the total cost of the loan. ARC loans offer 100% guaranty from the SBA to the lender. No fees are required to be paid to SBA. Many of these loans are provided over a six month period. The repayment of the principal of the loan may be deferred for 12 months after the final disbursement of the loan. Repayment may last as long as five years. The best candidates for this type of loan are companies that have been profitable in the past, but are currently struggling. These companies may have begun to miss payments recently because of financial hardship. These funds may be used to make payroll, buy inventory or improve core operations.

7(a) Loans

Lenders will be charged an annual fee of 0.55 percent of the guaranteed portion of 7(a) loan. The fee will only be assessed to the balance of the loan and not the entire loan amount.

504 Loans

Borrowers will pay an annual fee of 0.749 percent on the outstanding balance of the 504 loan. This amount increased from 0.389 percent. Loan interest rates may not exceed 4.75% and may be as little as 2.25% when negotiated through a bank.

How Long is the SBA Loan Process?

Since the Small Business Administration is a guarantor and not a lender, the amount of time required to approve the loan will vary. The Small Business Administration attempts to reach its decision within seven to 21 business days from the receipt of the application. To accelerate the process, applicants should have several components of their application in place.

The length of time it takes for the SBA to respond to the application depends on the loan program your business elects to apply to. A business plan with financial statements is required for all loan programs. Earnings projections and collateral offerings must be established. In general, the SBA microloan is the least time consuming application and will be approved the fastest. The maximum loan amount was increased to $50,000. The funds cannot be used to buy property or pay debt.

Top Five SBA Loan Lenders

The banks have sorted SBA lending by region. Some of the most prominent banks involved in lending are the following:

Wells Fargo Bank

Wells Fargo managed a No. 1 ranking between October 1, 2009 and September 30, 2010 for the Small Business Administration 7(a) loan. The bank issued 91 SBA loans with a total value of $31.9 million. The bank was the second leader in terms of ARC loans. The bank issued 23 loans for a combined value $710,100.

JPMorgan Chase Bank

Chase Bank issued 33 ARC loans with a total value of $935,100. They ranked No. 1 in this category of loans issued.

Mortgage Capital Development Corporation

This particular bank issued the most 504 SBA loans. Businesses may use these loans for real estate purchases, property constructions and upgrades.

TMC Development

This bank issued 71 SBA loans for a combined value of $54.1 million. Nearly, 56 of these loans were 504 loans. The loans had a total combined value of $48.9 million.

Capital Access Group

Capital Access Group issued 51, 504 loans for combined value of $37 million.

Rates of Top Five SBA Loan Lenders

Wells Fargo

Typically, 3.5% of the SBA amount is due at the time of the loan. However, the fee may be financed. An origination fee may include bank fees. A fixed or variable interest rate will be negotiated by the bank for the Wells Fargo portion of the loan.

Chase Bank

A guaranty fee of 1% to 3.5% of the guaranteed amount must be paid by the lenders. The lender must also pay the annual fees of 0.25%. The lender may pass the guaranty fees onto the lender, but not the annual fees.

Mortgage Capital Development Corporation

This bank charges 0.389% of the balance of the loan for fees.

TMC Development

Most 504 loan programs will pay up to 90%. Therefore, most borrowers only have to make a 10% down payment. This bank offers a 4.39% interest rate to those seeking a loan. The fees are typically 1% or less.

Capital Access Group

Businesses may get up to 90% financing with a SBA loan. The interest rates are 4.40%. The fees are typically 1% or less.

Copyright (c) 2010 Trey Markel

How Accounting Software Can Ensure Small Business Owners Have a Happy Christmas!

For many people the Christmas period is fun filled and relaxing with good food, drink and most of all great company. But unfortunately for some it can be one of the toughest times of the year. The festive season is a period of celebration and for many it acts as the perfect time of year to reflect on the year gone by. Over the backdrop of endless annual top 100 countdowns on TV we reflect on personal and professional achievements and regrets whilst planning our infamous New Year resolutions. This period of reflection is a source of happy memories for most but it can also be a real source of sadness for some people. Suicide rates are believed to increase throughout the holiday season and with the harshness of the current economic climate there are genuine concerns about the mental welfare of small business owners as we head into this years this festive season.

The combination of pressures derived from the accountability of owning business in today’s tough trading condition and people’s natural inclination to reflect over the Christmas period makes the festive season prime for an increase in anxiety across the SME community. Research has suggested that the SME community has experienced a 47% increase in suicide rates since the economic downturn of 2008. There are 2 intrinsically linked contributing factors to mental anxiety within the small business community over Christmas. Investing in good accounting software and practising disciplined financial management can help keep both factors at bay.

1) Money and the financial health of the business

The main cause of distress and anxiety for a small business owner over the festive season is money. Unfortunately there are still too many small business owners that are not into the detail of their company financials. For many Christmas time represents the time of year for the annual review of the company financials. The combination of compulsory requirements to prepare yearend accounts and the natural desire to reflect over the Christmas period makes it completely understandable why many owners get their head in the books over the festive season.

Practicing financial discipline once a year rarely results in a sound set of company financials. It is all too common for owners to find financial problems in their business just at the time when everyone else is relaxing and celebrating. The lack of detailed financial understanding often results in longstanding disparities between expenditure and income left unchecked throughout the year. It is also common for business owners that haven’t maintained a detailed view of the financials to find missing payments from customers. These findings ultimately leave business owners learning about nasty cash flow problems in their business that have accumulated over time which can be devastating for the short term future of the business. The emotional extreme between the relaxed PAYE employees enjoying their pre-booked off time and the anxious self-employed small business owner that can’t leave their business is already vast over this period. Finding out about a stark cash flow problem in addition to the existing frustrations of running a small business over the Christmas period can be enough to tip existing anxiety into full blown depression.

The key to a happy and relaxing Christmas period is sound financial discipline throughout the year and a good accounting software package can be central to achieving this. Accounting software allows small business owners to stay close to their business financials in a quick and easy to understand way. A simple, cost effective accounting software package means that company financials are done and managed consistently throughout the year. This ensures that if any problems occur with expenditure management or if a client hasn’t paid an invoice on time it can be rectified quickly and easily. Small business owners that are close to their financials do not have the emotional drain of a big annual review of their company accounts. Most importantly of all they don’t have the shock and subsequent unhappiness of finding nasty surprises in the books over the festive season!

2) Relationships

One of the main reasons that make Christmas so special is having the chance to spend time with your loved ones. The problem for the small business owner is that they don’t feel like they can simply leave the business for a couple of weeks. “The business doesn’t run itself!” This is in stark contrast to PAYE friends who have no responsibilities in their booked off time other than enjoying time with their loved ones. This contrast in fortunes puts an almighty strain on the relationships of small business owners as their loved ones have to cope without them for long periods over Christmas. This can be especially difficult for the loved ones of small business owners when it seems that everyone else is surrounded by their family and friends.

It can be incredibly challenging to take time off when you’re running a small business but time off is essential to keep and enjoy important relationships healthy. Time off during this year’s festive season will be even more strained for many small business owners as they not only need to complete the usual year end admin but they are also operating in some of the toughest economic conditions known for many years. BBC news have recently stated that the total number of divorces have increased 4.9% in England and Wales in the past year as a result of the tough economic conditions.

Whilst these pressures are very real they do not exist for every small business. There are SME’s that do not worry about year end accounting because it happens to be a 5 min exercise due to their on-going management of the company financials throughout the year. Small businesses that have sound financial discipline are also more likely to have enough working capital to see out the current economic pressures. These businesses have impressive working capital due to their complete detailed focus on expenditure and income and well managed time allocation reducing non-value adding administration tasks in favour of business optimisation planning. Small business owners of these types of companies are more likely to be able to relax over the Christmas period and spend time with loved ones as their businesses are sustainably healthy.

The secret to these healthy businesses is their sound financial discipline and well-structured time management. Accounting software is a critical tool that makes sure that small business owners reallocate time away from doing lengthy manual quarterly and annual accounts to free up more time to be spent on value adding business planning. This additional planning gives the business a greater chance of directing themselves successfully through hard times. In addition but equally as important accounting software makes sure that a small business has a tight grip on their cash flow position. By having a clear vision on the direction of the business and a healthy cash flow position a business owner can ultimately be more relaxed over the Christmas period focussing on what’s important – their relationships.

Small business owners that face the prospect of finding out about money problems and living through the happy festive season working all hours to keep the business afloat are in real danger of unsustainable anxiety and depression this Christmas time. The answer is to work on embedding financial discipline and well-structured time management throughout the business. The only way a small business owner will be able to relax with their loved ones this Christmas is if their business is financially sound. Having a well embedded accounting software solution is a key step towards achieving this.